"Look, out in the water -- it's a shark!" someone cries.
"No, it's a dolphin," says another bystander.
Who is right? How can you tell the difference? A curved fin that moves in a rolling motion and is seen off the coast of Delaware from May through October is probably a bottlenose dolphin. If you want to be sure, then pick up a copy of the new, full-color bulletin published by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program.
The free, six-page bulletin titled Bottlenose Dolphin: Our Ambassador to the Sea is packed with information on the evolution, behavior, anatomy and physiology, and predators and concerns of this fascinating marine mammal. Also included is information on how the bulletin can be used in the classroom to meet Delaware State and National Science Education Standards.
"It comes as no surprise that the bottlenose dolphin is so popular," says Bill Hall, education specialist for the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and author of the bulletin. "They are intertwined in the folklore, myths, and legends of many cultures."
Legends do indeed surround dolphins, and most people know very little about these curious animals. They are actually toothed whales whose closest relative is believed to be the hippopotamus. Their behavior is interesting as well -- not only do they seem to laugh and smile, but they sleep with one eye open at all times.
For a free copy of the Bottlenose Dolphin: Our Ambassador to the Sea, please send your request in writing to the University of Delaware, Marine Public Education Office, 222 South Chapel Street, Room 103, Newark, Delaware 19716-3530, or e-mail it to MarineCom@udel.edu. Please be sure to include your name and complete mailing address. Multiple copies are available for a nominal charge to help defray the cost of printing and mailing.
Printing of the bulletin was supported by the UD Sea Grant College Program, a member of a national network of universities committed to research, education, and technology transfer designed to meet the changing needs of U.S. ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes regions.